Here's the story:
Batman has caught Joker for the umpteenth time and is transporting him to Arkham Asylum. Everything's going great until *surprise* Joker busts free during transport. Now the Asylum is on lock down, and, as the Caped Crusader, you MUST catch Joker.
Seems simple, right?
Well, ladies and gentleman, I want you to feast your eyes on the first Batman game to actually do the comic book justice. This isn't 60s Batman. This isn't even Batman: The Animated Series Batman. This, folks, this glorious work of pixelation, is gritty, brutal, and absolutely one of the best Batman games ever created (the other one being its sequel, Batman: Arkham City, which I will try not to go all fangirl squee over next week).
Here's why this game rocks.
For the first time, you get to employ all of Batman's tricks: stealth, supreme (and incredibly fluid) fighting techniques, super awesome gadgets. This isn't just a platform jumper (I still have pretty fond memories of that impossible game on NES), and it isn't a poorly-written adaptation. This is Batman in all his glory.
The game play is absolutely some of the most solid I've experienced. It's rarely glitchy, and it tends to respond quite well to commands. Timing is a little tricky when you're going for a counter move, but other than that, it works out great.
As far as gadgets go, you have some fun ones in your arsenal. Obviously, you have the grappling gun (accessible with the RB button) and an endless supply of Batarangs. But there's oh-so-very-much more to help you take down the baddies. There's the sonic Batarang, explosive gel, a remote control Batarang (which saved my butt way more times than I care to count), a line-launcher thing, and a whole lot more, all of which is accessed by the D-pad. There's also the ability to use your Batarang in combat, but that was a little tricky for me as well since in the eat of battle I tend to forget to "lightly tap" the R-trigger. This got me killed pretty often.
There's also a nifty little thing called "detective mode" which Batman uses to track and trace different kinds of evidence. Detective mode will also tell you how many enemies are in a certain area and how many of them are armed. It's an incredibly handy combat tool. This helped me avoid getting killed pretty often.
There's not much of one, really. This game goes the way of Assassin's Creed in that it seldom uses music. Unless you're in a battle or something, you're more apt to hear conversations between thugs or, if you're in the medical center, really, really creepy voice overs.
Actually, the voice acting is superb. Kevin Conroy has been voicing Batman since 1993. Mark Hamil has been voicing Joker since 1993. Obviously these two actors have a long history together, and it shows quite well in the banter. Their timing with each other is so so good. Really makes you feel like these two have antagonized each other for years.
Holy s***. I was blown away by how good this game looks. There's a lot of texture, a lot of grime and grit. It's a dark game, both in content and lighting, which certainly fits the feel of the game. I tended to spend a lot of time in detective mode so I didn't die. Honestly, it was kinda weird to see the actual surroundings rather than the blue of detective mode...but that's just me. I'm not a proficient gamer, regardless of my experience. Having detective mode helped.